Werkeiland Neelte Jans (Deltapark), The Netherlands

The daytime parking is an island within the delta.  It’s hard to be clear exactly what this is the delta of as there are so many rivers and tributaries.  

The point is that this lets us explore up close the work that the Netherlands started in 1954 after the huge North Sea floods of 1953. The Netherlands were devastated as they are generally so low lying (20% lower than sea level and 50% less than a meter above sea level).

Huge earthworks, dams, dikes, sluices, locks and surge barriers and other engineering marvels form the Delta Project/Delta Works which were not completed until 1997.  These protect the whole country from the worst that the North sea can serve up.

Compare and contrast with the UK, where the ravages of the North Sea are all too easy to see.  The Netherlands is a testament to epic engineering projects and proof that a government can get its act together when it needs to!

There is a theme park and visitor centre (Deltapark) on the island but instead we walk along the huge earthworks and examine the storm surge barriers and the windfarm. One thing we are struck by is how quiet the wind turbines are.  There is certainly some blade noise but it’s only downwind of the turbine and is almost zero about 150 Meters away. The wind noise is much louder than any noise from the turbines!

The cost to park of 7.5€ is a sting, but it was our mistake – we parked in the theme park carpark rather than free parking on the other side of the motorway.  Cheese and Biscuits in the van, and then we continue along the coast to Burge Haamstede.

Middelburg, The Netherlands

An easy drive up from Ghent to Middelburg including the famous (and expensive in a motorhome!) Westerscheldetunnelweg which saves us about 60 km and a trip around Antwerp.  It’s one of only two toll roads in the country.  The tunnel gets us over(under) the River Scheldt delta and the will be more river deltas over the next few days!

The campsite (Stadcamping Zeeland) is expensive at 25€ a night but is only a 15 minutes walk from the town center. Maybe this price is normal for the Netherlands, we’ll see!   The site is quite new so the hedges around the pitches have not grown much yet, but it’s already a lovely site. Super high tech with ANPR cameras raising the barrier once they recognise the number plate.

As we are so close to town, there is no need to get the bikes down on this first stopover!

A brief walk into town and we manage a picturesque town hall, a windmill and a canal, all on the first date.  This is a one night stand as we are moving further along the coast tomorrow. We hope that Middelburg is a good omen for the rest of the Netherlands!